The Government must set up a financial mechanism for municipal solid waste management (MSWM) which makes an agency responsible, will ensure that the system works with the necessary revenue collection that it was deemed to make, suggested an ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study.
“Finance is a major issue in solid waste management sector. Implementing agencies and ULBs (urban local bodies) in particular, find it difficult to create and manage projects with limited finance,” noted a 2017 ASSOCHAM-PwC joint report titled, ‘Waste Management in India-Shifting Gears.’ It further said that infrastructure created is not properly utilised and the return on investment is often neglected leading to failure of the entire effort.
It was also highlighted that private sector which is held up as more efficient in terms of MSWM is facing issues in terms of access to market based/debt finance for projects.
“While the private sector has been involved in waste management services on a regular basis, the sector has seen a number of issues and bottlenecks which have made it challenging to successfully implement projects,” said the report.
It added that lukewarm response of banks and financial institutions is a major issue seen in MSWM. The ASSOCHAM-PwC study sought ‘industry’ status for waste management sector to provide it necessary boost and regulatory adherence with dedicated monitoring and compliance cell.
Considering the direct and indirect implications of poorly managed waste to urban environment and India’s economy and growth prospects, the study impressed upon the need for relooking into the present systems of waste management in the country.
It also noted that mismatch between requirement and availability of waste management services together with improper planning, constraints in capacity to manage waste using modern techniques and best practices, complex institutional setup, and limited funds with urban local bodies (ULBs) have collectively led Indian cities and towns to crumble under piles of garbage left in the open. Welcoming the changes made in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, the study said that ‘real implementation is yet to happen.’
“A full-scale preparatory exercise needs to happen for its implementation before we can take on this mammoth issue called ‘plastic pollution,” it recommended. It further said that the wave of cleanliness drives had brought some change in Indian mindset about waste management in over past two years. “The momentum should be utilised for benefit of the sector and implementation of rules and regulations should now be started on a serious note.”